Sherman's March To Atlanta Civil War Case Study

Great Essays
Part A: Plan of Investigation
Topic: Was Gen. William T. Sherman’s march to Atlanta, Georgia during the American Civil War a justifiable use of total war?

General Sherman’s march from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Atlanta, Georgia was a justifiable use of total war. To prove this, one first needs a clear definition of total war. Total war can be defined as a war in which one side uses all of its available resources to complete its goal at any costs. Sherman’s march to Atlanta fits this definition perfectly, with Sherman using all of his troops to their full capacity in reaching his destination, destroying all opposition to his soldiers, including civilians. The next category Sherman’s march must fit is one of justifiability. To be justifiable, something must first be necessary, and Sherman’s
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Firstly justifying this act was the absolute necessity of these brutal actions, as seen by Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman himself. With Northern morale wearing thin and the Union’s troops scattered across the nation, one final push into the South to win the war was needed, as without it the North would either lose the war or stop it altogether when the war-averse Peace Democrats won the election of 1864. Secondly, Sherman’s March to the Sea is justifiable as a result of its complete and utter success at achieving Sherman and Grant’s goals of uniting the Union and crushing both Confederate morale and the South’s ability to continue to wage the war. The destruction of Southern homes brought the war to the people, leading them to want a quick end to the war and stop supporting it as rigorously as they had in the past. Additionally, the march ended with the destruction of one of the most important Southern centers of manufacturing and railroad services. Lastly, in changing the way war is waged today, Sherman’s march justifies

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